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Assistive Listening Devices - Types and Uses

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Assistive Listening Devices - Types and Uses

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Assistive listening devices are a technology for deaf or hard-of-hearing people that helps to improve the one-to-one conversation. Scroll down to read more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sandeep Shrestha

Published At August 5, 2022
Reviewed AtAugust 5, 2022

What Are Assistive Listening Devices?

Assistive listening devices (ALD), also known as auxiliary aids, are devices that enable people with hearing problems to have better one-to-one conversations. These are amplifiers that can be held in hand so that you can hear closer to your ears. Other than bringing the sound near to your ear, these devices also help to filter out the background sounds to some extent. They include amplified telephones, hearing aids compatible phones and smartphones, television compatible devices, and alerting devices.

Assistive listening devices are for personal one-on-one conversations, whereas assistive listening systems (ALS) are meant for access to sound when the sound is transmitted through a public address system or sound system. ALS for larger facilities includes hearing loop systems, frequency-modulated (FM) systems, and infrared systems. The ALS should be usable for people with hearing aids, with hearing aids but no telecoil, and without hearing aids.

Who Can Use Assistive Listening Devices?

Assistive listening devices can be used by people with varying degrees of hearing loss.

  • People with mild hearing loss who might not need a hearing aid can use this to meet specific listening needs, such as better communication over the telephone or greater ease while watching television.

  • For people with significant hearing loss, assistive listening devices will better the hearing experience even though they use hearing aids by providing clearer communication in some environments and by alerting them about sounds that they may not be aware of otherwise or when they do not use hearing aids.

  • People with total hearing loss improve by providing a visual or vibrotactile medium for greater telecommunication accessibility and enjoying television or for detection of sounds from the environment.

Why Should People With Impaired Hearing Use Assistive Devices?

A hearing loss can be a barrier to effective communication. Communication is how we interact with others. We need hearing for our interpersonal and group communication, for communication over the telephone, for enjoying television or music, and for sounds around us such as door knocks, fire alarms, or a baby crying. If you are unable to do any of the things mentioned here will be termed a communication disability.

  • Assistive listening devices will provide better communication, like interpersonal or group communication experiences better in a noisy environment. They can even substitute visual communication for auditory when needed and helps to monitor important signals in the environment through vision or tactile sensation.

  • Personal assistive listening devices help to hear even in adverse conditions to that specific conversation. The personal ALDs have a remote microphone that is placed near the source of sound or is directly plugged into the audio source. In this way, the personal ALDs bring the sound source near to the ear, making it possible to hear in a better way regardless of what is happening in the surrounding.

  • Personal ALDs can be beneficial for people with varying degrees of hearing loss regardless of whether they use a hearing aid or not. When the personal ALDs are used by a person already using a hearing aid, this device will increase the extent of hearing with the hearing aid, which permits the user to function more effectively in situations that were hard early. These devices are either wired or wireless.

Each of these devices has advantages, capabilities, and disadvantages of its own, which should be considered before opting for the devices.

What All Are the Different Assistive Listening Devices?

There are different types of assistive listening devices, which are discussed below:

  • Amplified and Captioned Telephones- These are specifically designed for people with hearing loss so that you can turn up the volume as required for hearing. These devices enable hearing of high-pitched sounds, which are often difficult to hear for such people. Sometimes these phones also come with amplified ringtones so that you never miss a call without hearing.

Captioned phones come with the feature of a real-time caption, which will be useful for people with profound or severe hearing loss.

  • Hearing Aid Compatibles Phones and Telecoils- All phones are supposed to be hearing aids compatible by law. The hearing aid compatible phones use their acoustic and telecoil to assist people with impaired hearing. The acoustic coupling will pick up the sound from the phone as well as the surroundings and is amplified. At the same time, the telecoil coupling requires the hearing aid to be equipped with a telecoil. This feature will only pick up the phone signal and is amplified. Telecoils in a hearing aid are desirable as it blocks the background noise during phone calls.

Besides this, there are phone applications with their own unique features of ALDs.

  • Assistive Listening Device for Televisions- Watching television without clearly understanding what is said can become a chore. Also, increasing the volume is not a good option all the time, especially when watching the television with other people, and also increasing the volume can distort the speech making it even more difficult to understand. There are television ALDs that work whether or not you use the hearing aid. One such ALD is television ears which come with a wireless headset with personal volume control that is plugged directly into the television's earphone socket.

  • Alerting Devices- These devices, apart from improving your hearing, will keep you alarmed about the surroundings and improve your safety. These devices depend on visual cues, amplified sounds, and even vibrations. Some examples of such devices include vibrating alarm clocks, doorbells that use flashlights, and vibrating flashlights using smoke detectors.

Conclusion

Hearing aids are a helpful advancement of science that helps people who struggle with hearing loss. But in some cases, the needs may not be fulfilled by the hearing aids alone. There may be specific needs that are not addressed by the hearing aids, or maybe some are not ready to use hearing aids. In such cases, the assistive listening devices are useful. There are many types of ALDs available in the world. Even smartphones can be considered a type of ALD. So if you face some problem with hearing, this can be managed very well for which you may need to consult the concerned specialist who can guide you in this journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

What Are the Types of Assistive Listening Devices?

- Amplified and Captioned Telephones
- Hearing Aid Compatibles Phones and Telecoils
- Assistive Listening Device for Televisions
- Alerting Devices

2.

Are Assistive Listening Devices and Hearing Aids the Same?

Hearing aids are a helpful advancement of science that helps people who struggle with hearing loss. But in some cases, the needs may not be fulfilled by the hearing aids alone. There may be specific needs that are not addressed by the hearing aids, or maybe some are not ready to use hearing aids. In such cases, assistive listening devices are useful.

3.

What Are Assistive Listening Devices?

Assistive listening devices (ALD), also known as auxiliary aids, are devices that enable people with hearing problems to have better one-to-one conversations. These are amplifiers that can be held in hand so that you can hear closer to your ears. Other than bringing the sound near to your ear, these devices also help to filter out the background sounds to some extent.

4.

How to Deal With People Who Can’t Hear?

- Face the person directly while talking.
- Inform them if they miss something important.
- Don't start talking from far away rooms.
- Rephrase what you said.
- Don't shout at them.
- Say their name at the beginning of a conversation.
- Reduce any background noise.

5.

Does Hearing Loss Cause Personality Changes?

Losing the ability to hear may lead to an enhanced risk of acquiring mental health ailments such as anxiety and depression. Diminishing the psychological consequence of hearing loss implicates vigorously pursuing medical therapy and discovering emotional aid.

6.

Does Hearing Loss Lead To Dementia?

Precisely somewhat gentle hearing loss may provoke cognitive plethora, which indicates that people may encounter hearing-related memory loss without having moderate or severe hearing issues. In reality, one may witness memory loss before being aware of any decrease in hearing function.

7.

Can Wearing Hearing Aid Make Hearing Worse?

No, hearing aids cannot worsen the hearing capability of a person. Instead, assistive listening devices are a technology for deaf or hard-of-hearing people that helps to improve the one-to-one conversation.

8.

How Long Does It Take for the Brain to Adjust to a Hearing Aid?

The brain takes anywhere between four to six months to actively adjust to a hearing aid.

9.

How Many Years Can a Hearing Aid Last?

A hearing aid can last anywhere between three to seven years and this is dependent on the way the machine is handled and taken care of.
Dr. Sandeep Shrestha
Dr. Sandeep Shrestha

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)

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